“It wasn’t my career, it was our career,” said Tom, a retired automotive electronics executive. “We moved 17 times for my job. It takes a special family to do what we did.”
Recently, the couple extended their partnership to helping save the lives of children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases at St. Jude.
The Sheehans made gifts to support the hospital’s Genomes for Kids study and gene therapy.
“Danny Thomas started St. Jude in 1962, the same year we were married,” Judy said. “We’ve grown up with St. Jude. We hope these studies will help researchers learn more and will lead to greater understanding of these diseases so the mission can continue.”
The couple’s personal St. Jude representative, Erika Rudd, said the Sheehans have a deep desire to understand and support the hospital’s research and treatment.
“Supporters like Tom and Judy want to dream big with St. Jude,” Rudd said. “They told me, ‘Let’s think big. We want to know what the latest promising research is, what the doctors and researchers at St. Jude are dreaming about that could be the next big breakthrough.’”
The Sheehans’ latest gift, made in the form of a stock transfer, was fortuitous for them, as well as for St. Jude.
“The stock market had great gains in the first half of 2017,” Tom said. “By moving some of our appreciated stock to charity we were able to avoid capital gains and give St. Jude a larger gift.”
Reflecting on their support, Tom said, “St. Jude is absolutely a great investment. Their mission is right, and the concept of thinking big and doing whatever they can to find cures is what they are all about.”
Added Judy: “St. Jude doesn’t have an institutional feel. There are some very sick children here, but everyone always seems to be smiling. It’s a happy place, and we are proud to be a part of it.”